New Nonfiction: Smart People Should Build Things – Andrew Yang

If I ran the world, the paperback version of this book would be the required Freshman Reads title on every campus. For the moment, here’s hoping for good review coverage and for parents and mentors who will press this inspiring, readable book into the hands of high schoolers everywhere.

Yang is the founder of Venture for America—a sort of Teach for America for entrepreneurs. Yang relates his own story as he makes the argument that law and financial firms are among the few fields actively recruiting and training college students for their post-college careers. That means that the “best and brightest” are being guided towards working for companies that don’t really “make” anything that grows the country. At a time when engineering firms are closing because they can’t find enough new employees, Yang’s argument that we need to recruit engineers and cultivate entrepreneurs seems not only timely but necessary. Venture for America recruits from the best and brightest, matches those graduates with firms who need talent, in cities that need new business.  The result is win-win: fledgling graduates apprentice in firms that need their talent to grow.

Yang suggests that many young people graduate from college and seek jobs in finance, law, and medicine because it’s expected of them. The downside is that many of these promising young people hit their mid-20s with tons of student debt, and realize they’ve been trained very narrowly, in addition to not enjoying their jobs. How much could the world be changed if these young and energetic people went to startups, rather than going corporate? Yang’s pitch for entrepreneurship as a viable alternative to more structured careers is enticing…”
— Publishers Weekly

“This book is a roadmap for young people in designing their careers, a playbook for policy makers for rebuilding our cities, and a path forward to moving entrepreneurship back to the center of the American economy.”
— Arianna Huffington

Smart People Should Build Things: How to Restore Our Culture of Achievement, Build a Path for Entrepreneurs, and Create New Jobs in America (9780062292049) by Andrew Yang. $26.99 hardcover. 2/4/14 on sale.

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